This book was given to me by a man who’d been touring the world by bicycle for 10 years while I was on my own little ride around the country. I expected a book about adventurous explorers, and there is some of that, but I quickly learned that most of the exploration of the shorter tributary of the Nile occurred at the side of military invasions. Moorehead captures the drama, scale, and consequences of these invasions, and paints a convincing picture of what life must have been like for both the invaders and natives. I learned many things I didn’t have a clue about, like the fact that Egypt was ruled for generations by Russian slaves called Mamelukes. I feel almost familiar with Egypt, the Sudan, and Ethiopia after this read, even if the feeling is destined to fade quickly.